DMA 148

Gray Gets Approval Of Anchorage Station Buy

The FCC dismisses objections of cable interests and grants a “failing station” waiver to allow Gray to add KYES Anchorage, Alaska, to its portfolio despite already owning KTUU there.

 

The FCC has approved the sale of MNT affiliate KYES Anchorage, Alaska (DMA 148) from Fireweed Communications to Gray Television for $500,000 that was announced last year. The sale was opposed by cable operator General Communications Inc. and the American Cable Association.

GCI, Alaska’s largest telecommunications provider, claimed the sale would give Gray too much market control since Gray at the time was also acquiring the market’s NBC affiliate KTUU through its purchase of Schurz Communications’ TV stations.

Gray had asked the FCC for a “failing station” waiver of the local ownership rules to permit the combination of KTUU and KYES.

In its decision, the FCC granted Gray the waiver and approved the sale with one condition: “For a period of two years post-consummation, KYES may not enter into an agreement to obtain a network affiliation held by an existing affiliate in the market that, at the time such agreement is executed, would result in KYES becoming a top-four station in the market in terms of audience share,” the commission said.

In addition, the FCC said that Gray “has adequately demonstrated that the public interest benefits of the proposed transaction outweigh any alleged harm to competition and diversity. Specifically, the applicant asserts that the combined operation of KYES and KTUU will result in the introduction of local programming that KYES is not currently offering, in particular expanded emergency weather coverage, as well as local news and public affairs programming, neither of which KYES currently airs.

“Petitioners do not dispute these assertions. Instead GCI simply alleges that all the benefits identified by the applicant are really just benefits to Gray. We disagree. We find that such local programming inures to the benefit of the public.” 

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